How to Maximize Your Backstage Pump Routine

Are you a Figure, Wellness or Bikini competitor looking to perfect your backstage pump routine for that ultimate stage-ready look? Here are 8 essential tips to help you get the most out of your pump and shine on stage:

1. Time Management

Give yourself ample time to fully pump up backstage. This process shouldn’t be rushed; remember, it’s all about precision and detail. I tend to recommend you start your routine around 30-40 minutes before your scheduled stage time. This allows for any change to the schedule (okay, it’s more often late than early!) or extra time getting ready, and will allow you to get a true pump that will last for longer. You should start slowly and more total body to get blood to the periphery, then refine by focusing on more key areas. This video will give you some ideas for exercises your can use:

2. Top-Up Pumping

Keep “topping up” the pump on key areas closer to your stage time. Focus on areas that may need a bit more attention based on feedback from your Coach. You’ll want to be assessing each area of your body based on the judging criteria. So, if for example your upper and lower body symmetry are lacking then you should probably spend more time pumping up the lagging portion so it appears more symmetrical when you go on stage. 

3. Coach’s Guidance

Listen to your Coach regarding which areas need more pumping up than others. Their insights are invaluable in helping you achieve that perfect pump to implement your physique, show your strengths, and potentially hide weaknesses. For example as a Bikini competitor, having muscle bellies that are looking too striated will cause you to get market down by judges, so your Coach might manipulate your pump routine in order to hide that.

4. Tan and Bands

Be cautious of your tan when using bands for pumping. You wouldn’t want any smudges or marks that could affect your overall look.

5. Muscle Awareness

Understand which muscles tend to lose their pump faster or retain it longer. This is different from person to person. This knowledge allows you to time your exercises effectively to maintain the pump where it matters most. For example, if you know your glutes don’t maintain a pump for long then you might want to pump them up last, or keep “topping up” a little more.

6. Pre-Workout Boost

Consider using a pre-workout supplement to enhance your pump. You’ve got to be careful here, though. And again, another example of when to listen to your Coach. Pre-workout supplements with stimulants might make you too jittery or nervous at the wrong time. Caffeine also acts as a diuretic, which depending on how you’re looking you might now want to have. A non-stim pre-workout is usually the more safe option, or when stimulants aren’t wanted. A lot of your ability to get a good pump, though, is driven by your food and peaking strategy. A pre-workout is the icing on the cake. I like PUMP by Titan Nutrition (LINK HERE) which you can also mix into a paste of you’re trying to minimize fluid intake. Depending on a lot of other variables, I might also have a competitor add things into their pump paste or drink like cyclic dextrin or salt.

7. Dietary Support

Certain foods can also enhance the pump effect. While you may have personal favorites or have heard of certain things being used, always defer to your Coach’s recommendations to fine-tune your backstage routine. Remember, BE CAREFUL if you are introducing an special pre-pump foods here that you haven’t already been using throughout your prep, or have practiced with. You don’t know how your digestion is going to react to something you haven’t had in a while. Some examples of things I’ve used successfully with clients include: rice cakes with full sugar jam and peanut butter, a packet of salted potato chips, a snickers bar, FiniBars by Biotest, McDonalds salted French fries. Again, and I can not stress this enough, you should not be using things like McDonalds French fries an hour or so before you step on stage unless you know how your body is going to respond to it (e.g., you’ve used it in a “mock peak” in the weeks prior).

8. Final Touches

Remember, your pump routine is the finishing touch; the hard work has already been done during your training and preparation. Use this time wisely to accentuate your physique’s best features. If you’ve missed the mark and not contest lean in time for the show, then no special techniques or routine will compensate for that.

By incorporating these tips into your backstage pump routine, you can optimize your look and confidently step onto that competition stage knowing you’ve done everything to showcase your best self. Always remember, preparation, precision, and getting feedback from your Coach are key to success as a Figure, Wellness or Bikini Competitor.

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